At just 19 years old, Monica Seles was a dominant force in women’s tennis. Starting her professional career at 14, she quickly rose to prominence, reaching the 6th rank on the WTA list by the age of 16. However, everything changed on April 30, 1993, during a tournament in Hamburg. Seles was viciously stabbed from behind during her quarterfinal match, bringing her tennis career to an abrupt halt.
Seles had already achieved remarkable milestones in her short career, including winning the French Open and becoming the youngest champion and World No. 1. In subsequent seasons, she accumulated 9 Grand Slam titles and 53 overall victories. From 1991 to 1993, she reached an impressive 33 out of 34 finals, emerging victorious in 22 of them. Unfortunately, the tragic incident in Hamburg shattered her tennis journey.
Reflecting on the horrific event, Seles expressed disbelief and the profound impact it had on her life. Coming back from an injury, she never expected such violence to occur on a tennis court. Compounded by personal and political challenges in her former country, the incident brought heartbreak and prematurely ended her remarkable tennis career.
The trauma Seles experienced was unimaginable, as nobody anticipates such unprovoked violence in sports, especially tennis. Her attacker, a devoted fan of Steffi Graf named Gunter Parche, was determined to hinder Seles’ success and further Graf’s career. As a result, Seles went from being a top player to someone struggling with physical limitations, anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Seles had to quickly mature and face the challenges thrust upon her, realizing that everything she had achieved could be taken away in an instant. Although she made a comeback and won another Grand Slam, she was forever changed and unable to regain her previous intensity. Seles retired in 2008 and has recently started attending tennis events again, gradually reclaiming her connection to the sport.